Study Says Race Isn't About Skin Color, but Wardrobe
Experiment shows people identify race with how one dresses
There was a time when black people who spoke "proper" were accused of "talking white." According to a new study, "dressing white" may be the new accusation to make.
Daily Mail UK reports:
Volunteers in a U.S. study tended to label someone as white if they were dressed in a suit – even if the face had dark skin – and labeled someone black if they were dressed in working overalls. The scientists revealed that perception of race is shaped by prejudices that we already hold - and that racism runs deeper than we think.
In the study, conducted by a team of researchers from Tufts University, Stanford University and the University of California, participants, of various races, were shown a series of computerised faces, with different skin colours and clothing.
Not only were the faces dressed in suits more likely to be seen as white, and those in scruffier clothes black, but even when a white face was dressed down, the volunteers’ hand movements showed that they were at first instinctively drawn to labelling it black.
The study’s lead author, Jonathan B Freeman, from Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences said: ‘The study shows how the perception of a face is always a compromise between the visual cues before our eyes and the baggage we bring to the table, like the stereotypes we hold.
‘Racial stereotypes are powerful enough to trickle down to affect even basic visual processing of other people, systematically skewing the way we view our social world.’
With black unemployment at an all time high, we're sure there's some brothers out there that are quick to tell you that wearing a suit doesn't change perception, that much.